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The Chatham Record

Thursday, January 30, 1896- The Chatham Record Boiler Explosion.

A white man, named Elisha Beal, has been brought here to jail, to await trial at our next court, upon the charge of having maliciously caused the fatal explosion of the steam at Mr. Matthew Gilmour's cotton gin, near Egypt. It is alleged that he was the former engineer and because another man had been put in his place he fixed the engine so as to cause it to explode. It is said that if the explosion had occurred a fewe minutes later five persons would have been killed. It was bad enough as it was, killing Mr. (?) Gibson and Mr Miles Gunter.

Thursday, February 13, 1896 - The Chatham Record Superior Court.

State against Elisha Beal,indicted for murder. The defendant in this cause is charged with having maliciously caused the explosion of the steam engine at Mr. Matthew Gilmore's cotton gin near Egypt. He was arraigned on Tuesday and the trial was set for today, and it was ( ) be very interesting.

Thursday, February 20, 1896- Chatham Record Superior Court.

The case against Elisha Beal was continued until next court on account of the absence of important witnesses for the defendant. In this case the defendant is indicted for murder, for having maliciously fixed the steam engine at Gilmore's gin so as to cause the explosion which killed two men.

Thursday May 14 1896- The Chatham Record Superior Court.

The case against Elisha Beal was begun on Thursday and was not finished until late Saturday afternoon when the jury retired and, after consulting together until nearly midnight, returned a verdict of guilty of manslaughter. The judge then sentenced the prisoner to (?) but an appeal was taken to Supreme Court which cannot be heard until about the first of November. ( ? ) ballot the jurors were evenly divided, there being six for acquittal and six for manslaughter.

This was a ( ? ) the defendant being charged with the ( ? ) of Walter ( ? ) who was killed last January in the explosion of the boiler in Mr. Matthew Gilmore's cotton gin, near Cumnock. Beal had been the fireman and two days before the explosion he had been discharged and another put in his place and it was alleged that he had maliciously tampered with the engine and ( ? ) to cause the explosion in revenge for having been discharged. The prisoner was defended by ( Cabot ) ? and P. H. Calvert who had been assigned to that duty by the judge, as the prisoner was too poor to ( ? ) an attorney, and they performed their duty ( assiduously ? ) . This was Mr Calvert's first case in Court and his ( ? ) was highly complimented.

Thursday November 12, 1896- The Chatham Record Beal's Case.

The Supreme Court, on last Tuesday, affirmed the judgment of the Superior Court in the case of the state against Elisha Beal, and he will now have to serve his sentence of ten years imprisonment in the penetentiary. It will be remembered that he was tried and convicted last May for having maliciously caused the explosion of the boiler at Gilmore's gin, last January, which killed Mr. James Gilmour and Mr. Walter Gunter. He appealed to the Supreme Court and that tribunal has now affirmed the judgment of the Superior Court.

Donald H. Rielly